road trip with a baby

Sidekick is nine days old now, and I'm already getting a little bit stir-crazy. I've been thinking about our first vacation as a family and can't wait to get on the road together. Have you ever taken a road trip with a baby? I think the key is going when they're old enough that they aren't having to eat every two hours but young enough that they don't jabber in your ear and try to escape from their carseat the whole time. Nate and I took Some Boy on our West Coast road trip when he was nine months old and that was really the perfect age, in my opinion. I have such fond memories of that trip. Every time I think of it I have an intensely clear mental picture of Some Boy huddled against Nate's chest, zipped up in his jacket amidst the morning fog in the Redwood Forest. It was perfect. My sister and I also took the little guy up to Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey Bay when he was about a year old, and he slept most of the way. A road trip with a baby can actually be really memorable and peaceful, if you plan right.

7 tips for a road trip with baby (compile a little care package with these tips to give to prospective parents at the baby shower!)

Tips for anyone going on a road trip with a baby:

  • Buy a good travel crib.
  • Don't push yourself too hard. Stop every couple of hours to stretch your legs and give the baby some fresh air.
  • Pack a TON of snacks so you'll have plenty of sustenance, especially if you're nursing. If hunger strikes at an inopportune time (like after a recent break or when baby's sleeping) you'll be prepared.
  • Start small. Take a mini-trip a couple of hours away before you try tackling an epic 12-hour road trip with a baby.
  • Consider your baby's normal schedule. If possible, try to do most the driving when he or she is napping or sleeping. Many families even start road trips at night so that the baby sleeps through most of it (that is, assuming that the driver has been able to rest up ahead of time).
  • Bring extra diapers. Way more than you think you'll need. Also, pack plastic bags to store the dirty diapers in on the road.
  • Pack new toys that your baby hasn't seen before. This'll help keep him or her occupied.

Have you ever taken a road trip with a baby? What was the most memorable part?